The Manhattan branch of the Brooklyn coffeehouse recently opened on 20th between 7th and 8th, I used to walk down to 9th St. Espresso, and this addition is very welcome to the West Side.
Their espresso is fantastic, with a thick, caramel-colored crema. The cup they use is just right--not too big and not too small.
They also have brewed-to-order regular coffee made with a cool new-style machine.
I honestly didn't realize how mundane McStarbucks was until I tasted craft-brewed espresso. It's rich and creamy and almost sweet. No bitter coffee face.
They serve a few healthy-looking muffins, but I like to swing by Cafe Bergamote on 9th and 20th for a pain du chocolate. Peerless!